Set Up a Web Workspace

I wrote the following for students because it’s too exhausting to keep track of the forgetful kids’ passwords. This way, they can keep track of passwords and links from a central location. (I encourage the forgetful kids to write passwords down, which security guru Bruce Schneier says is ok.)


If I was setting up a comfortable place to work, I would arrange my desk a certain way, gather pencils & pens & paper, and possibly even grab a Coke. This document describes how to set up something similar for your online work: a web workspace that gets you working quickly.

Your Mantra: is my friend

Our goal is to have a web workspace whether at home or at school. iGoogle to the rescue!

  1. Set your browser’s home page to your iGoogle page. At home or at school, this page will be your web workspace dashboard.
  2. Add the Bookmarks widget to your iGoogle page.
  3. Add the Google Docs widget to your iGoogle page.
  4. Create a Google Spreadsheet called “Web 2.0 Accounts” or similar.
  5. Fill in all your usernames and passwords in this spreadsheet. If you forget the logon info to a website, consult the spreadsheet. Add to the spreadsheet any time you make a new account.
  6. Add the flickr widget to your iGoogle page. (there are several, choose the one by chinson).
    • On your iGoogle page, click the down arrow to “Edit settings”. Change the username and set it to display “Latest”.

How I Made My Web Workspace

Watch the video on ScreenCast.com. Here’s a screen grab of the workspace:


Ideas for advanced readers:

  • Use iGoogle’s tabs to your benefit: set one up for each context in which you need to work. The above example was created in a tab for just one class I teach. I have others.
  • Use tags when you use Google Bookmarks. Did you know that you can make the Google Bookmarks widget display select tags? I made a “ww” tag, which stands for web workspace.
  • Leave the email widget off your web workspace page. It’s an interrupter that takes your attention away from the project at hand.
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7 thoughts on “Set Up a Web Workspace

  1. Great stuff… I have edited my Google spaces to reflect some of your ideas. One product that I love that doesn’t relate to your idea is using Roboform: http://www.roboform.com/

    The time it saves me is well worth it the cheap cost… The bummer part of the tool is that it doesn’t travel with you like your excel spreadsheet idea though.

  2. Scott: Thanks for adding Roboform to the tip jar! If you’re primarily using the same computer, it’s an awesome tool to have around. I would suggest it to students with laptops, for example. Glad to hear you liked the tips!

  3. Thanks Megan. I agree that Google can be a great friend. BTW, found your blog via a Google Alert for “iGoogle”. I’ve also subscribed to your feed. Cheers – Mike Reynolds

  4. Mike: I’m glad you found me! Welcome :)

  5. Pingback: Why Getting Things Done Depends on a Workspace « Megan Golding

  6. Great tips. Just yesterday, I typed a Word document with a table listing several web tools and a column for username and password. I intended to distribute it to participants in my blogging workshop so that they could keep up with all their passwords. Your idea is much smarter–makes much more sense to have those passwords online, at our fingertips when we need them, instead of hunting for a piece of paper we wrote them on. Thanks for sharing. I’ll be sharing your post with my workshop participants.

  7. I’m glad you liked the Web Workspace tips! My students have been using this method for about 9 weeks and I love being able to skip password recovery every few weeks :)

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